Farmers Weekly and the NFU have joined forces in the search for a farming champion.

The accolade Farming Champion of the Year 2010 is part of the Farmers Weekly Awards and is sponsored by the NFU.

We are looking for nominations for individuals who have tried to improve the industry’s standing and to give them the recognition for their hard work and devotion to the industry.

The champion could be a campaigner for justice for British farmers or someone who promotes the value of agriculture to the public or developing business models, technology or advice that will benefit many producers and growers.

What makes potential champions stand out is the devotion to their cause.

They will go beyond the remit of their day job to achieve goals and objectives on behalf of the wider industry.

In 2009 the award went to joint-champions, Wales’ rural affairs minister Elin Jones and Welsh chief veterinary officer Christianne Glossop.

They won the accolade for their determined approach to tackling bovine TB in Wales.

The judges recognised their drive to achieve their goals in the face of significant opposition.

But the award is not just for politicians, previous winners have been drawn from TV celebrities and working farmers.

In 2008 Jimmy Doherty’s Farming Heroes TV series communicated agricultural and countryside messages to millions of viewers.

The primetime BBC series saw Mr Doherty travel the nation, visiting, showcasing and celebrating agriculture in its many forms.

Farmer winners have included West Country beef farmer Jilly Greed and Ian Pigott, from Hertfordshire.

Mrs Greed impressed with her work in 2007 highlighting best practice in the cattle sector and promoting beef farming as caring for the countryside and producing high-welfare, high-quality food. Mr Pigott was recognised for his “fantastic work” in kick-starting the Open Farm Sunday initiative which draws hundreds of thousands of members of the public.


How to nominate
You can nominate a Farming Champion (or put yourself forward) by calling 020 8652 3304, by email marion.phillips@rbi.co.uk or by going to the awards website

The winner will be announced at the awards night on 7 October, 2010, at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.

The night – one of the biggest in the farming calendar – will see the winners of all 15 other categories in the 2010 Farmers Weekly Awards named.


Suggestions for Farming Champion 2010

Farmers Jim and Kate Beavan
Jim and Kate Beavan helped to educate the public on farming reality.

The Beavans welcomed the BBC Lambing Live team on to their farm in March and explained the farming way of life to 2.6m viewers.

Countryfile presenter Adam Henson
After years out of the limelight farming has become prime-time television once again as part of the BBC’s Countryfile programme. Adam Henson has helped to ensure sure that practical farming has formed part of the Countryfile content on Sunday evenings.

Liberal Democrat MP Andrew George
Andrew George is well known to his constituents in St Ives, West Cornwall but less well known for his fight for fairer trade for British farmers. Mr George has been credited by the NFU for his tireless work which has paved the way for a supermarket ombudsman.

Arc-Addington Fund’s director Ian Bell
Ian Bell champions the fund which was established by the Archbishop of Canterbury after the foot-and-mouth outbreak in 2001. It was re-constituted in 2002 to provide assistance to rural people in financial difficulty. To date it has distributed over £10.3m.

Farm Manager Game and Wildlife Conservation Project Phil Jarvis
Phil Jarvis has managed the Trust’s Allerton Estate since 1993. The estate acts as a profitable demonstration of environmentally sensitive farming. Mr Jarvis has helped DEFRA develop more practical options under the Entry and Higher Level Stewardship schemes.

Royal Welsh Agricultural Show Society president Dai Jones
Dai Jones is a multi-award winning beef and sheep producer and has held numerous posts of distinction within farming. He marks 40 years as a broadcaster in September and has used his role in the spotlight to promote farming to the general public.


Why does farming need a champion?
“The perceptions of farming are changing. We’ve gone from being an industry that presents itself as a problem to an industry that presents solutions to many of the challenges that society faces. Increasingly politicians, civil servants, the media and most importantly consumers understand that agriculture is a business that not only delivers food, jobs and a contribution to the real economy but a better environment and biodiversity. We have a great story to tell but we need people to tell it. That’s why we need farming champions and that’s why the NFU is proud to sponsor this award.”
NFU president Peter Kendall